Saturday, December 29, 2012

Need to Know (How)

Opportunity doesn't knock; opportunity crashes through.

Melrose graduated its greatest blocking combination (Rachel Johnson and Kayla Wyland) and another accomplished blocker (Sarah McGowan).

Effective blockers will win jobs.

Here's a great video with some drills and skills.

Thursday, December 27, 2012

Thursday, December 20, 2012

Tuesday, December 18, 2012

"Purposeful Practice"

I've cross-posted this from Melrosegirlsbasketball.com. 

Peak performance (sometimes accompanied by greatness, but more often by hyperbole) occurs by design.  Louis Pasteur reminds us that "chance favors the prepared mind." 

Practice is insufficient.  Ericsson calls it "deliberate practice" and others "purposeful practice." Only by challenging your limits, enhancing your athleticism, skill, emotional, intellectual, and spiritual (teamwork) game do you become your best.

Book recommendation: "Bounce" by Matthew Syed.

Sunday, December 16, 2012

Boston Herald Volleyball All-Scholastics



The Boston Herald reports its volleyball All-Scholastics in today's issue.

...give your dreams the wings to fly...if you just believe.

Friday, December 14, 2012

Championship Hats Available

Championship hats available from the volleyball boosters organization.

Thursday, December 13, 2012

Volleyball Girls Recognized by Rotary Club

The Melrose Rotary Club honored the Lady Raiders state championship volleyball team recently at a luncheon. 

Click photos to enlarge.

Wednesday, December 12, 2012

Honor Roll



A huge Melrose fan sent this along, tagged "Best of the Decade." Successful teams receive individual accolades as well as team recognition. You can make your dreams come true...from one proud parent to many.

2003
Marianne Foley
Boston Globe All-Scholastic
Boston Herald All-Scholastic

2004
Karen Sen
Boston Globe All-Scholastic
Boston Herald All-Scholastic

2005
Karen Sen
Boston Globe All-Scholastic
Boston Herald All-Scholastic
MGVCA Division 2 All-State Team

2005
Paula Sen
Boston Globe All-Scholastic
Boston Herald All-Scholastic
MGVCA Division 2 All-State Team

2007
Hannah Brickley
Boston Herald All-Scholastic
MGVCA Division 2 All-State Team

2008
Hannah Brickley
Boston Globe All-Scholastic
Boston Herald All-Scholastic
MGVCA Division 2 All-State Team

2009
Hannah Brickley
Boston Globe All-Scholastic (Division 2 Player of the Year)
Boston Herald All-Scholastic
MGVCA Division 2 All-State Team

2009
Colleen Hanscom
MGVCA Divsion 2 All-State Team

2009
Scott Celli
Boston Globe All-Scholastic (Division 2 Coach of the Year)

2010
Athena Ziavras
Boston Globe All-Scholastic
Boston Herald All-Scholastic
MGVCA Division 2 All-State Team

2011
Brooke Bell
Boston Globe All-Scholastic
Boston Herald All-Scholastic
MGVCA Division 2 All-State Team

2011
Sarah McGowan
Boston Herald All-Scholastic
MGVCA Division 2 All-State Team

2012
Brooke Bell
Boston Globe All-Scholastic (Division 2 Player of the Year)
Boston Herald All-Scholastic
MGVCA Division 2 All-State Team

2012
Sarah McGowan
Boston Globe All-Scholastic
Boston Herald All-Scholastic
MGVCA Division 2 All-State Team

Inside the Numbers

Players make plays when it counts.

This table illustrates the major offensive production (kills) by Melrose's primary hitters 'down the stretch' in the biggest games.

The moral of the story is not just the virtue of production, but of an element of balanced offense, such that the defense must defend the whole court. It also shows how players stepped up their production in key games.

Tuesday, December 11, 2012

Sunday, December 09, 2012

Still Conflicted

Two weeks after Melrose's crowning achievement, I'm still a bit conflicted, not with cognitive dissonance about winning, but about when to move on. Let's enjoy, but move on.

I've talked about Melrose's "complementary volleyball", the front row blockers making life better for the back row, the back row's "platform skills" helping the setter, and the excellent setting for the attack.

Competition is the operative word for Melrose volleyball 2013. To whomever I am forgetting, apologies in advance.

Despite graduating Boston Globe Player of the Year Brooke Bell, Melrose will have tremendous competition for the setter position, including but not limited to Maeve Moriarty, Allie Nolan, and Amanda Cain. Nobody should forget that setters 'set', but they also defend, serve, block, AND attack, in other words they use all the volleyball skills. Although I don't "channel" Coach Scott Celli, I more than take him at his word that every position is open. Players play, coaches coach, and eventually the spots get filled.

Similarly, despite Amanda Commito's impending graduation, Melrose's strength comes from the back, with high talent and effort level in Jill MacInnes, Allie Nolan, Cassidy Barbaro, Maave Moriarty, and under-rated Alyssa Abbott. This gives the coaching staff a lot of flexibility going forward.

In the classic Art of War, author Sun Tzu writes "every battle is won or lost before it is fought," meaning preparation, strategy, and training define outcomes.

Ergo, one major determinant of success going forward is the outcome of the competition for front row spots. Melrose graduates some of the premier blockers in its history, including Rachel Johnson, Kayla Wyland, and Sarah McGowan. I'm not going to review the roster of superior blockers from past Melrose teams, just note that blockers are not fungible year to year.

Blocking is about timing, technique, and of course, some combination of height and jumping ability. The middle blocker spots occupied by Sarah and Rachel are wide open, with a host of players fighting for time. A roster spot on the 2012 team guarantees nothing going forward. Stephanie Crovo and Meri Lessing have the advantage of having practiced against Melrose's championship front line. Although Annalisa DeBari played outside in 2012, she could migrate to the middle if needed. JV players can develop with off-season work, and one has to be aware of "unknowns", as the eighth grade class has both size and athleticism.

Here's an introduction to volleyball blocking technique with some concepts that may not be intrinsically obvious:





well-done on what to track

Enjoy the journey.

Friday, December 07, 2012

Wait for It, Wait for It, NOW

Style




Changing of the Guard

Always click to see the full image (courtesy Don Norris)
Outgoing captains: (left to right)  Amanda Commito, Brooke Bell, Sarah McGowan

Incoming captains: (right to left) Allie Nolan, Cassidy Barbaro, Jill MacInnes

It's easy to understand where the "ankle braces" rule developed.

What?



Banquet Recap

The highlight of the banquet tends to be 1) the video and 2) naming of the captains. This year was no exception.

Jeff Mate' put together a great introduction to popular music, with the senior parents hamming it up...with the oversized Senior Night volleyballs. Including the Senior Night speeches was a great touch.

Mayor Rob Dolan presented team members plaques with a key to the city.

Coach Celli thanked the people of Melrose and a number of contributors who have helped make the program successful. I was glad to have him recognize one of the "First Ladies of Melrose Volleyball", my wife Ellen. Coach Wall played a message from his son...some infant crying. Nice touch.

The coaches summarized their seasons, JV 21-2 and the varsity winning the state title, and showed thankfulness for the players, families, and each other. It was clear that the coaches work closely together and have a great deal of mutual respect. The current captains noted that within the school, the program has become known as the Volleyball Cult.

Coach Wall awarded Amanda Cain the MVP (voted on by players) and Meri Lessing the most improved. Both earned callups to the varsity for the playoffs. The Boosters awarded the players framed reprints of a Boston Globe season recap.

Coach Celli handed out a number of awards...I should have taken notes.
- Top Server, Amanda Commito 97.5 percent
- Top Defender, Rachel 'The Rock' Johnson
- Dedication Award, Sydney Doherty
- Unsung Hero, Jen Cain
- Most improved, Kayla Wyland
- MVP, Sarah McGowan
- Coach's Award, Brooke Bell

One of the many strengths of the program is the consistency of the culture (not just the cult status the program has engendered). Young adults may not always agree with the rules and discipline, but they contribute to both long-term and short-term success.  The coach reiterated that regardless of where the season ended, all positions and playing time are open, and that improvement and performance guide time on the court.

He also made it clear that the goals for next season are unchanged from those of this season, winning the Middlesex League title, the North Sectional, and the State Championship. Establishing demanding goals is part of the culture of success that Coach Celli has brought to Melrose volleyball. Players who (with family support) have made the sacrifices to be successful have set a high standard for future teams to challenge.

Thursday, December 06, 2012

State Championship? Piece o' Cake


Celebration



Tonight Melrose Volleyball celebrated the 2012 season with the traditional breakup dinner at the Montvale Plaza, featuring a wonderful dinner including steak tips and Chicken Marsala.

Here are just a few highlights in a preliminary report.


  • The team revealed the State Championship banner.  Above Rachel Johnson and Kayla Wyland point some fingers. 
  • The annual highlight video from Videojam's Jeff Mate' recounted some season highlights...a masterful job likely soon to be on Youtube. 
  • Coaches Celli, Wall, and Basteri recognized their players and handed out awards and certificates. 
  • Brooke Bell was announced as Boston Globe Division 2 Player of the Year. Great job, Brooke.
  • Sarah McGowan was named one of four finalists for Gatorade Player of the Year. Outstanding honor to Sarah. 
  • Coach Celli recognized all the seven Melrose players who achieved Middlesex League all-star status. 
  • After explaining the lengthy process leading to captaincy selection, Coach Celli named the tri-captains for the 2013 season: Jill MacInnes, Cassidy Barbaro, and Allie Nolan. Congratulations to all. 

A big thanks to the Melrose Volleyball Boosters for their support and to the Melrose community that has provided unwavering support to the program.

Tuesday, December 04, 2012

Amanda Commito Highlights



Courtesy of the Video Maven, Jeff Mate'.

Saturday, December 01, 2012

Memories

video
One of the highlights of the annual banquet is the video, which Jeff Mate' is putting together. I'm sure it will top this.

Happy Holidays

Don Norris from the Melrose Mirror sends along a season picture of some members of the Melrose championship volleyball team styling downtown. The Melrose Mirror is a monthly publication on the net, created by the seniors at the Milano Center, and supported by the Media Lab at MIT.



Melrose volleyball has enjoyed the support of fans of all ages, including our seniors.